Friday business round-up: Six key stories of the day

Menzies has added Oban Express to its parcel delivery network
Menzies has added Oban Express to its parcel delivery network
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Here are six of today’s key business stories in one handy package.

John Menzies bought another parcel delivery firm as it seeks to grow its presence in the online retail market. The Edinburgh-based logistics group, which issued a profit warning earlier this week, claimed the acquisition of Oban Express could “transform e-commerce in remote parts of Scotland”. Oban handles about 450,000 packages a year and will become part of Menzies Distribution’s national network, increasing its footprint across western Scotland and the Hebrides.

Wealth manager Alliance Trust said Karin Forseke will step down as its chair at the start of next year. Her decision follows a shake-up at the Dundee-based trust, announced last month, aimed at cutting costs by £6 million a year through a changed corporate structure and operating model.

A change at the helm was also announced by five-a-side football operator Goals Soccer Centres. The East Kilbride-based firm, which recently issued a fresh profit warning, said Nick Basing – who has spent 25 years in the leisure and hospitality sector – is due to replace Keith Edelman as its chairman at its next annual meeting in May.

National Australia Bank (NAB) formally decided to press ahead with the sell-off of Clydesdale Bank. The Melbourne-based group said more information about the demerger and initial public offering of Clydesdale and its Yorkshire Bank brand will be released in the week beginning 7 December.

UK economic growth remained at 0.5 per cent in the three months to September, latest official figures showed. The Office for National Statistics said its second estimate for gross domestic product in the third quarter was unchanged from earlier estimates. Preliminary data published last month showed growth had slowed from 0.7 per cent in the second quarter.

Perth-based Braveheart Investment Group said it was set to receive more than £400,000 from the takeover of Glasgow drug discovery firm Biopta. Japanese group Reprocell, a specialist in the development of stem cell technologies, is paying about £5.2 million in cash and shares for the company, a spin-out from Glasgow Caledonian University.